The sports industry fascinates us. It moves at an incredible speed and is undergoing massive changes. Just this week the $60 Billion sports industry was in the news regarding climate change and the impact it will have on the mountains.
We wanted to dig a bit deeper into what makes the industry thrive and suss out some sports industry trends. We sat down with the team at Outdoor Equipped, a big US sports retailer to weigh in on Sports & Outdoors Week and chat with us about trendspotting in sports and which brands they see as the biggest movers and shakers.
Tell me a bit about Outdoor Equipped and what makes your store unique?
Outdoor Equipped is a one of a kind, store located in the heart of Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC in a historic building. We have designed our store to embrace the old with the new and many Wilmington residents are in awe when they enter our store. We offer Outdoor apparel, footwear and accessories with many brands that you don’t find in big box stores such as Fjallraven, Mammut, Marmot, Kuhl and Helly Hansen.
We like to think of our product representation as “athleisure” which seems to complement Wilmington’s active and unique demographic.
Over the last 5 years, sporting good stores have benefited from the growth in sports participation rate. What types of products do you see in high demand?
We see specialty run footwear in high demand, our store has a running section in which we offer gate analysis and participate in run clinics that benefit all types of runners whether they are beginners or experts. Such brands as Altra, Newton and Zoot are leading the pack as they focus solely on run and tri whereas Mizuno, Reebok and Asics, also in our store, have a presence in many different market segments other than run.
What kind of sporting and outdoors brands pop out to you?
Fjallraven, Helly Hansen, Mammut, Marmot, adidas Outdoor, Woolrich, Grundens, Royal Robbins and Arc’teryx are some outdoor brands that stand out to us. They are unique and not found in big box stores. These brands are focused on making great products that are proven to last. They also have a stylish look to them that help us create that Athleisure feel our store has. If you’re going to be active our outdoors you might as well look good and feel good doing it and these brands help achieve that!
Consumers are becoming more and more health conscious. How is this changing what brands you choose to carry?
We are a family and veteran owned business and recognize the need to be environmentally friendly and health conscious. While we do have a business plan to execute and maintain success, we are picky with who we choose to partner with. We have an active following in our store and we choose to only carry products that meet the needs of our customer base.
Our customer base is health conscious and tends to stay away from nutrition such as gu, gels and energy bars that have ingredients they are unable to pronounce. “Dextrahydra-something “ is not natural and many recognize the benefits in steering clear of these products.
Which sporting goods categories are performing the best in your eyes? What do you think is the reason for this?
Touching back on the “Athleisure,” our customers want to be stylish while still having the technical features found in the outdoor clothing and accessories. They are looking for product that will last yet still sits at the front of the trend curve.
It’s all about having the latest and greatest product, and due to our large presence online we are capable of moving seasonal product quickly, thus giving our store a fresh new look each season. Our return customers love the fact that we turn our floor 4 times a year, always something new to see at Outdoor Equipped.
Thank you Outdoor Equipped for sharing your thoughts and expertise with us!
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